Arcade Assembly

The major project at Shopfront is always an adventure – previous years have seen the creative team infiltrate outdoor areas, create whole pop-up villages and go on outback road trips. This year local and closer to home the old dance hall/mechanic shop which has been the home of Shopfront for over 35 years was completely over-run by the work of one hundred artists (young people) who had made a complete arcade out of cardboard – games, installations, interactive moments with people or slingshots, dance machines, wheels of fortune. A craft table where you make your own avatar. Messages of reassurance. Diagnoses and cures. A dance party with strangers.

The aesthetic was a comfortable mix of digital innovation and analogue crafts – Screens and animations embedded in cardboard – an arcade made by hand. For me, an instant choose your own adventure/treasure hunt… a reminder of how long it has been since I have made things with my hands – how long its been since I have used glue and materials to add something colourful and whimsical to the world. And just the reminder I need – to reconnect with my creative self, my self that hunts and seeks and takes joy in being open to the new and the generous offers of young artists – who always surprise me with their sensitivity and wisdom.

I am very proud of the work of the young people involved in Arcade Assembly. It is a pleasure to serve on the board and to support the artists as they discover and experiment and build their vision and community.

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